A mother has avoided a jail term after she admitted harassing a former family friend for two months over some “mild school banter” between the women’s young daughters.
In September 2015, Aisling McCann, aged 34, began making anonymous silent phonecalls to the victim from a blocked number. Over the next two months she harassed the victim by sending anonymous emails insulting her daughter and telling her to keep away from her children.
She would also order food online and have it delivered to the woman’s home and ordered taxis to pick her up at her home. McCann of Oaklands Park, Swords, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to nine charges of harassment on dates between September 11 and November 22, 2015.
Garda Sergeant Gerry Holland told Tom Neville, prosecuting, all the harassment grew out of some mild school banter that was taken out of proportion by McCann at a stressful time in her life.
Judge Melanie Greally noted McCann was going through a difficult stage in her life. Instead of confiding in family members she was trying to manage her stress by drinking.
Judge Greally said she was suspending a 12-month prison sentence after taking into consideration the woman’s lack of any other convictions and her early plea of guilty. When gardaí went to McCann’s house in December last she owned up to all the acts of harassment.
Sgt Holland told the court she was completely remorseful at that time.
He said the harassment stopped immediately after gardaí confronted her. The victim had declined to make a victim-impact statement and was just relieved it had stopped.
Before it was traced to McCann the harassment caused the victim fear and anxiety and was very distressing to her and her family, the court heard. Sgt Holland said that the former family friendship was now severed and unrecoverable.
Counsel said McCann was drinking at the time and was under stress because her family home was in negative equity and her daughter was starting secondary school.
In imposing sentence, Judge Greally said McCann was a responsible parent who was going through a difficult period in her life.
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